Therapeutic focus - Gout pipeline looks thin but holds promise

Date May 26, 2011

Positive data presented on Ardea Biosciences’ lesinurad (RDEA594) and Novartis’ canakinumab in treating gout patients who do not respond to first-line treatments are encouraging developments in treating a disease that has seen few drugs introduced since allopurinol was launched nearly 50 years ago.

This is important because allopurinol’s healing powers appearing to be waning as the profile of a typical gout patient has evolved since the 1960s – recent trials suggest just 40% of patients now respond to allopurinol. The last couple of years have seen the launch of two new products, febuxostat and pegloticase, but both drugs have failed to live up to expectations - febuxostat due to reimbursement issues and pegloticase on safety concerns. As such, lesinurad and canakinumab could be much-needed new treatment options to emerge from a pipeline that is surprisingly thin for such a widespread condition (see table below).

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